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Bosnia and Herzegovina
Preface Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:01 AM

Bosnia takes its name from the Bosna River; Herzegovina from the herceg (duke) who ruled the southern portion of the region until the 15th-century Turkish conquest.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a crossroads country. Sandwiched between Croatia and Serbia, it has been a zone of contention since Occident and Orient first met. Passing back and forth between Christian, Muslim, and Orthodox powers, its people seemed to have become accustomed to their multicultural milieu. Historically, Bosnians were tolerant, their land peopled with practitioners of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and a host of other religions and ideologies. Their art and architecture reflected this diversity.

This brotherly acceptance ground to a halt in 1992, however, when Bosnian Serb über-nationalists shattered the country’s social harmony with the help of the federal army and officials in Belgrade. The resulting three-way civil war pitted Muslim Slavs, Orthodox Serbs, and Catholic Croat — all formerly neighbors — against one another. It devastated the country’s infrastructure, left refugees numbering in the millions, and introduced the phrase “ethnic cleansing” into modern parlance.

In the postwar period, memories of the atrocities committed by all sides remain fresh, and the spirit of tolerance the country once enjoyed has gone the way of the many mosques, synagogues, and other symbols of divergent faiths that were torched and shelled during the fighting.

In each part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, churches and mosques are being rebuilt, but this phenomenon has more to do with nationalism than religion, since most people are fairly secular. Ironically, Serbs, Croats, and Bosnian Muslims are all South Slavs of the same ethnic stock. Physically, they are indistinguishable.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s current leadership structure, ratified by the Dayton Accord, leaves it among the world’s most complicated democracies. Known as the Chairman of the Presidency, the country’s current chief of state, a Muslim, shares the office with 2 co-presidents — Croat and a Serb — each having been elected to office by their respective peoples.

Though the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended with the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in November 1995, some of the rancor lingers. Bosnian Serbs have dropped their demands for secession, but bickering persists between Muslims and Serbs.

Travelers are beginning to return to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it will be many years before the country again boasts a significant tourist draw. Bosnian people are incredibly friendly toward visitors, but when conversation turns to politics, your best strategy is to listen.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:03 AM

Bosnia and Herzegovina is located on the Balkan Peninsula, and is bordered by Croatia on the west and north, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on the east. It is almost entirely landlocked, except for a narrow, undeveloped outlet to the Adriatic along the Neretva River, which gives Bosnia and Herzegovina 12.4 miles of Adriatic coastline. The size of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 19,781-sq. mi. (total), is slightly larger than the State of Tennessee. The land boundaries are 850.8 miles long. Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two land regions: Bosnia, the northern part, is mountainous, and covered with thick forests; Herzegovina, the southern part, is composed largely of rocky hills and flat farmland. Major rivers in Bosnia include the Bosna, Drina, Neretva, Vrbas and Sava.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has scenic, snowy winters, and a rainy season in the early summer. Summers are warm in the mountain valleys, but cool at higher elevations. The far northern part of the country has somewhat colder winters and warmer summers. The average January temperature in Sarajevo is 30°F. The average July temperature is 66°F.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is known for winter sports. Its excellent ski slopes became especially popular after the 1984 Winter Olympics were held in Sarajevo. In warmer weather, it is popular to fish and raft in the rivers and hike in the mountains. Since the 1992–95 war, some of these places have become inaccessible because of land mines or security concerns. Sarajevo is known for its juxtaposition of Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Byzantine architecture, reflecting its location as a crossroads of civilizations. The country enjoys proximity to the beautiful Adriatic coast and its islands, all of which are now part of Croatia.

Population Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:04 AM

Bosnia and Herzegovina became part of a Roman province in about 11 B.C. Slavs settled in the region in the late 6th and 7th centuries, mingling with the indigenous population. Bosnia existed as an independent kingdom from the 1100s to the 1400s, but local nobles, called bans, were able to act independently much of time. Hum (now Herzegovina) was under Serbian or Hungarian rule from 1100s until 1326. It was autonomous from 1326 to 1448, when its local ruler declared his independence and adopted the title herzeg, which means duke.

The Ottoman Turks gained control of most of Bosnia in 1463, and seized Herzegovina in the 1480s. In the centuries after the invasion, a large number of Slavs converted to Islam. Significant numbers of Catholics converted to the Orthodox Church, which was more favored by the Turks. Bosnia and Herzegovina remained provinces of the Ottoman Empire until the 1878 Congress of Berlin gave temporary control of the region to Austria- Hungary. In 1908, Austria-Hungary formally annexed the region.

In June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist from Bosnia, assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife in Sarajevo, precipitating the outbreak of World War I.

Following World War I, Bosnia and Herzegovina was awarded to Serbia by the Treaty of Versailles, and became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. The kingdom was renamed Yugoslavia in 1929. During World War II (1939–1945), Germany and Italy occupied Yugoslavia. Croatia briefly became an independent state aligned with Germany, and exercised general control over Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of Sarajevo’s Jewish community, formerly the second largest ethnic group in the city, perished in concentration camps. After the war, a Communist government organized Yugoslavia as a Federal State. Bosnia and Herzegovina became one of the six republics of Yugoslavia, as did Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Ethnic divisions based on religion have been a basis for conflict throughout the 20th century. In the late 1980s, relations between the groups steadily worsened, especially between Serbs and non-Serbs.

In 1990, the Communist Party lost its monopoly on power in Yugoslavia. That year Bosnia and Herzegovina held free elections for the first time. Ethnic-oriented parties won a majority of the seats in the legislature and Alija Izetbegovic, a Muslim, was elected president of the Republic. In June 1991, Yugoslavia began to dissolve after both Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence, and conflict broke out in several other regions of former Yugoslavia. In February and March 1992, a referendum on independence — a direct vote of the people — was held in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most Serbs boycotted the referendum, but a majority of the voting population, including 95% of the Republic’s Croatian and Muslim voters, supported independence.

A majority of Serbs living in Bosnia opposed the declaration of independence, and spurred on by propaganda and paramilitary assistance from Serbia, subsequently initiated military action against non-Serbs. About two-thirds of the Bosnian Republic fell under the control of Serbian forces within 2 months.

In October 1992, the United States and other U.N. members began reporting incidents of human rights abuses in Bosnia. Vicious fighting, shifting alliances, widespread atrocities, and “ethnic cleansing” resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties and millions of refugees and displaced persons.

After three and a half years of war, the Dayton Agreement, signed in November 1995, ended the fighting and established an independent BiH consisting of two entities, the Federation of BiH and the Serbian Republic (Republika Srpska).

Public Institutions Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:05 AM

The Dayton Agreement, which ended the war in Bosnia in 1995, created a new constitutional framework for the country. The state is led by a three-person presidency, representing and elected by each of the three major ethnic groups. There is also a Council of Ministers, consisting of two Co-Chairmen and a Deputy Chairman and ministers of three state-level ministries: Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, and Civil Affairs and Communication. Laws are passed by a bicameral legislature.

The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into two entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbian Republic (Republika Srpska). The two entity governments are responsible for most government functions and services, including defense, but not foreign affairs. Both entities are governed under parliamentary systems headed by prime ministers, with executive powers assigned to a president and vice-president. The Federation is further divided into ten cantons.

International Community. The international community has assumed special responsibilities for the maintenance of peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Dayton Agreement. Overall supervision is provided by the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), which appoints a High Representative to implement both the Dayton Agreement and PIC decisions. The High Representative has the power to recommend and, if necessary, impose laws, and to dismiss public officials in certain circumstances. The OSCE currently supervises the electoral process, and the UN provides an advisory International Police Task Force (IPTF) and other assistance groups. A number of other European and international organizations exercise specific functions and provide various forms of assistance. The multinational Stabilization Force (SFOR), responsible to NATO and consisting of approximately 20,000 troops in 2000, monitors the entire military forces and ensures peace and stability throughout the country.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:06 AM

The National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina was founded on May 22, 1945. The library was housed in the former City Hall building located in the “Old Town” section of Sarajevo. During its 47-year existence, the National Library became a powerful educational institution that provided essential support to the educational process in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thousands of students visited the library and used its vast resources.

On August 25, 1992, the National Library building was totally destroyed by artillery and resultant fires. More than 600,000 monographs, 700 valuable collections and Bosnian periodicals were burned as a consequence of the shelling.

The current Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina ceded all buildings in the Tito military complex to the University of Sarajevo which, in turn, authorized one of these buildings to be used as the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnian artists work in many different styles and are usually not very politically active. A number of artists left Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war, but many have returned or visit fairly frequently. Two of them are internationally recognized printmakers and painters — Safet Zec and Mersad Berber. Afan Ramic, Ljubo Lah, Mehmed Zaimovic, Seid Hasanefendic, Salem Obralic, Perica Vidic are known painters from Bosnia. Bosnia’s famous sculptors are Bosko Kucanski, Zdenko Grgic, Mustafa Skopljak, and Enes Sivac. Dzevad Hozo, Mirsad Konstantinovic and Marina Finci are recognized Bosnian printmakers. There are numerous small galleries; two of the largest ones are the State National Gallery and City Gallery Collegium Artisticum.

One of the largest museums in Sarajevo is the Regional Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is one of the oldest cultural and scientific institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Native scholars and public figures, who at that time formed a modest and small Museum Society, founded the museum in 1884. With the support of the government, the museum was proclaimed the State Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1888. From the beginning, it functioned as a central institution in the fields of scientific research, culture, education and publishing. During the past 100 years the museum has grown into a significant cultural arid scientific institution with three main branches: Archeology, Ethnology and Natural History. It also has a Botanical Garden and special Scientific Library. Since 1913 the museum has been housed in the uniquely constructed pavilions which it occupies today. This museum was fairly extensively damaged during the war, but is now oven to the public.

There are three festivals held every year in Sarajevo — the Summer Film Festival, the International Theater Festival MESS, and the Sarajevo Winter Festival. There is also Bascarsija nights in July which features international and local performers. The Film Festival takes place in September during which one can see movies from around the world. The Theater Festival is held in October, when theater ensembles and groups from different continents perform. The Sarajevo Winter Festival starts every year on the anniversary of the 1984 Winter Olympics. Programs for the Winter Festival vary from musical shows, drama, and ballet to art exhibitions.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:07 AM

Bosnia and Herzegovina is rich in natural resources. It has vast forests and abundant sources of coal and hydroelectric power. Before the war, Bosnia produced electrical appliances, textiles, aluminum, and refined petroleum products. Common agricultural crops include apples, figs, oranges, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, potatoes, soybeans, tobacco, walnuts and wheat.

Per capita income in Bosnia and Herzegovina is just over half its pre-war level. The international community has invested heavily to rebuild the country’s damaged infrastructure and to assist in economic development. This investment has resulted in some economic growth and improvements to the transportation, telecommunications, and energy sectors. The international community is working with Bosnian authorities to enact free-market reforms that will make the country more attractive to foreign investment. Bosnia’s chief trading partners are Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, and Italy.


Automobiles Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:07 AM

Personal automobiles are now permitted at Post. However, local law prohibits the import of any vehicle older than seven years. It is advisable to bring small European or 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Winters are long and road conditions throughout the country are poor. Sarajevo is a very hilly city with extremely narrow streets and almost no parking on the street. The lack of parking results in frequent double-parking and parking on the sidewalks. Most houses and apartments do not have garages.

Nissan, Opel, Audi and VW have representatives in Sarajevo, and the cars can be purchased and/or service locally. Post policy limits the use of privately owned vehicles (POVs) to Sarajevo and a few outside routes. Two-vehicle convoys are necessary for tray in certain areas.

Car theft is a problem, so you should buy security devices or install an alarm system before bringing a car to post.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:08 AM

Public transportation is available but is often crowded. Tram and bus tickets can be purchased either from the driver or at certain kiosks. Trams and buses a very inexpensive. Taxis are readily available able and relatively cheap.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:09 AM

Sarajevo Airport is located ten kilometers from the Embassy. International air carriers have daily flights from Sarajevo Airport. Only state-owned Air Bosna and Croatia Airlines keep their planes at the airport overnight. There are currently flights into Sarajevo from Zagreb, Vienna, Zurich, Munich, Budapest, Istanbul, Dusseldorf, and Ljubljana. International flights operate daily out of Mostar and Banja Luka. During winter months, heavy fog and snowfall can limit airport operations. This can result in flights being cancelled, making winter travel somewhat unreliable and unpredictable. Several bus companies provide service to Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Germany. The only passenger rail service in Bosnia operates between Sarajevo and Mostar, and between Sarajevo and Zagreb.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:10 AM

Local telephone service is fairly reliable. International direct dial (IDD) capability is available both from the Embassy and residences. Long distance calls to the U.S. are expensive, so many people use AT&T or Sprint calling cards which results in some saving on calls to the U.S. Approximate prices for long distance calls are as follows: $1.00 per minute — Italy, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, U.S., Great Britain, Vatican, Yugoslavia, Liechtenstein and San Marino; Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia; $1.26 per minute — Andorra, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus; $1.47 per minute Ireland, Algier, Alaska, Belgium, Finland, Canada, Iceland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Malta.

All government-rented housing units have telephone service available at the occupant’s expense. E-mail and Internet access can be obtained locally. There are several companies that offer this service; prices and service vary but they are generally more expensive than comparative services in the U.S.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 8/6/2003 10:20 AM

The State Department pouch is the primary means for receiving mail. There are outgoing pouches once a week and incoming pouches twice a week. Packages may be received through the pouch, but there is no outgoing package mail by pouch. Incoming pouch mail may take between 3 and 4 weeks; transit times may be even longer in winter months as the airport may close because of inclement weather. Items for the unclassified pouch can be delivered to the mailroom Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 5:00. All personal mail should be addressed to the following Pouch Address:

Name 7130 Sarajevo Place Dulles, VA 20189

Please do not put any office markings in the address.

USAID contract personnel are not authorized to receive merchandise, magazines and newspapers through the pouch. International airmail should be addressed as follows:

Name/Office or Agency American Embassy Alipasina 43 71000 Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina

Radio and TV Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:11 AM

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a large number of media outlets. Their main characteristics, with exceptions, continue to be limited audience mainly based on ethnic background, difficult financial and material position, and inability to make profit in the market.

Currently, there are 152 radio stations and 47 television stations licensed to operate in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The new Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA) has had a positive effect on broadcast media, substantially reducing inflammatory reporting and hate language throughout the country. Major broadcasting networks include BH TV 1, the first countrywide public broadcaster; and two entity TV stations: Federation TV and RTRS (Television of Republika Srpska). Private TV stations such as TV Hayat in Sarajevo and ATV in Banja Luka (both members of Mreza plus) are popular in their respective cities.

There are no English-language TV stations in BiH. However, some popular American series and movies are carried in English with Bosnian subtitles. SFOR radio programming, including some American broadcasts, can be heard in Sarajevo and Tuzla with special receivers.

Satellite television is available in Sarajevo. It is recommended that new members of the mission bring a multi-system television set in their household effects.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 8/6/2003 10:21 AM

There is also a large number of print media in BiH. Over 130 print media are registered in the Federation and over 60 in the Republika Srpska (RS). However, only a limited number has significant circulation and influence. Major dailies are: Dnevni Avaz, Oslobodjenje (Sarajevo), Nezavisne Novine, Glas Srpski (Banja Luka) and Dhevni List (Mostar).

Major news agencies are: FENA, SRNA and ONASA.

Health and Medicine Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:12 AM

Prior to the war of 1992–1995, the hospitals in Sarajevo were among the leading educational, diagnostic and therapeutic institutions of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Eastern Europe as well. During the war, the city’s hospitals were targeted and suffered major destruction. Despite the chaos, lack of electricity, gas, water, materials and medicines, the medical personnel cared for and operated on thousands of wounded people.

Seven years after the war, hospitals continue to rebuild and reconstruct. Support from the World Health Organization (WHO), the international community and the domestic government has enabled Sarajevo hospitals to repair a large part of the damage. Some physicians have returned to Sarajevo and have bought with them outside training and experience. Breaking out of the Tito-era model of public health, some physicians are working in private practices. There are still serious challenges to implementing a real health care system with adequate infrastructure, but in general, health care in Sarajevo is improving.

SFOR/NATO has excellent quality military medical resources throughout Bosnia. In Sarajevo the German Army supports a Role 3 field hospital offering a broad range of services and medical specialties. The U.S. Army has a similar facility near the town of Tuzla, some two hours from Sarajevo. These facilities are the first choice for care in case of serious emergencies such as sudden acute illness or trauma.

Embassy Sarajevo has a Health Unit staffed by a Foreign Service Health Provider. Post is additionally supported by Regional Medical Officers located in Belgrade, London, and Budapest. The Regional Psychiatrist is in Vienna. London is the medical evacuation center.

The Health Unit provides three basic services: primary care, health promotion/disease prevention, and emergency response. The Foreign Service Health Provider treats minor illnesses; manages stable chronic illnesses; provides referral to other physician specialists as needed; immunizations of children and adults; teaches first aid and CPR; offers patient education; and assesses local medical resources capabilities.

Common health problems encountered in Sarajevo include upper respiratory illnesses due to poor air quality and the prevalence of allergens like mold and pollen. Smoking is extremely common. There are no smoke-free restaurants or public areas outside the Embassy. Secondhand smoke exacerbates respiratory problems. Tuberculosis has been on the rise with the influx of refugees and the deterioration of public health services. Motor vehicle accidents are always a concern as the roads are poorly maintained and drivers are unpredictable.

Bring an adequate supply of medications especially inhalers, second generation antihistamines, etc. Some medications are available locally and are inexpensive. Others simply are impossible to purchase on the local economy. Post’s Foreign Service Health Provider can write prescriptions and mail or fax them to the U.S., but there are significant delays in receiving them through the pouch.

There are lots of ways to stay healthy in Sarajevo. Post has a good, albeit small gym. Folks bike, hike, and swim to stay in shape. The Health Unit actively supports weight loss, exercise and smoking cessation programs.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:13 AM

The post has made strong efforts to enhance employment opportunities for dependents. Those interested in employment are encouraged to contact the Department of State, EUR/EX/PER, and express their desire to be employed through the Family Employment Program. Also, interested dependents should write to the Human Resources officer prior to arrival, providing as much information as possible on skills and previous experience.

Applicants for positions with the Mission are selected on the basis of education, experience, and suitability. They must also be American citizens at the time of their appointment.

The Family Employment Program is administered by the Department in Washington, D.C. and encompasses a number of targeted jobs for which the Department will provide training before arrival at post. In order to qualify for this program, application must be made to the Department. Other employment opportunities may be available in the private sector such as teaching English, although salaries may be quite low. Limited employment opportunities are available with international organizations in the city.

Ability to speak the local language is helpful when seeking employment.

American Embassy - Sarajevo

Post City Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:14 AM

Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is at the southeastern end of the Sarajevo-Zenica Valley and lies in the Dinaric Mountains not far from the origin of the Bosnia River.

The city is famous for its carpet weavers and silversmiths, and for its many mosques. Turks, who ruled the city from the mid-1400s to 1878, built the mosques. Sarajevo is also famous for the site of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand, which led to World War I. In 1992 Sarajevo was besieged and bombarded by the Serbian military during the ethnic conflicts that followed the breakup of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, Sarajevo has begun to regain its former character. There is, however, an enormous amount of war damage evident, although some rebuilding is under way.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:14 AM

The Embassy, at Alipasina 43, is situated in the center of Sarajevo. Currently there are eleven different government agencies represented at Post. OPA, USAID, and the General Services Office are located in an office building just a ten-minute drive from the Embassy compound.

All Agencies can be reached through the Embassy switchboard. Country and city codes are (387–33) 445–700 or 659–969. Embassy hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Embassy duty officer may be contacted through the Marine Security Guard at all times. Detailed security briefings are held weekly.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:14 AM

Every effort is made to move newcomers directly into their permanent quarters. However, during the summer when personnel turnover is heavy, this is not always possible. If permanent housing is not ready, newcomers are housed in an American-furnished temporary duty apartment, or are booked into a local hotel.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:15 AM

All housing is Embassy-leased and fully furnished. Post provides standard furniture and major appliances, including a refrigerator, a stove, space heaters, washer, dryer, microwave, and split unit A/C. Most appliances are European-sized, as American appliances generally do not fit in Sarajevo kitchens and bathrooms. Employees should plan to bring other household equipment, including small appliances such as a toaster and coffeemaker. Electrical current in Sarajevo is 220v and outlets are standard European two-pin.

Some 220v appliances, such as irons, toasters, coffee makers and televisions, can be purchased both at the PX and on the local market. Arriving personnel should bring some household items in your airfreight, such as bed linens, blankets, dishes, silver, glassware, kitchenware, shower curtains and electrical appliances. The Embassy provides a Welcome Kit, which includes blankets, pillows, bed linens, iron, dishes and kitchenware, on loan to newcomers until their effects arrive. When planning shipments, employees should bear in mind that quarters are small and storage space is very limited. Post cannot provide warehouse space for employees’ personal effects, and there are no commercial warehouse facilities.

Currently, Embassy personnel are housed in two- or three-bedroom apartments or houses. Very few houses have yards or garages. Houses and apartments generally have no built-in closets; clothing is usually stored in freestanding wardrobes, which are a standard component of Embassy-issued furniture. Homes have central heating.

Food Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:16 AM

The selection of goods in the city’s larger stores is varied. The Embassy does not have a commissary in Sarajevo, although post personnel have access to several military PXs located about a half-hour’s drive from the Embassy. The U.S. PX carries American goods designed for military personnel, primarily convenience foods, electronics, and paper products. A PX-operated truck delivers American products to the Embassy once a week.

Fresh fruit and vegetables as well as meat and poultry are available in local markets. Most of the fresh food items are organic, but their variety may be limited in winter and early spring. In addition to Sarajevo’s open markets, there are several large supermarkets that sell a wide variety of European products along with fresh food items. There are many small shops that are well stocked with items including cleaning supplies, canned and frozen goods, pasta, eggs, yellow and white cheeses and other dairy products. Fresh milk is not pasteurized, but long-life milk is widely available. Bread is excellent, inexpensive and readily available.

Some baking supplies such as evaporated canned milk, food coloring, and vanilla extract are hard to find on the local market. Bacon and pork is scarce, but it can be found. Special dietary foods such as low-fat, low-sugar, or low-salt items are available on a limited basis at larger stores. This can be problematic for employees with health problems such as high blood pressure. If these items are important to you, it may be advisable to ship them to post. Certain spices and food items associated with ethnic cuisine are not available.

Clothing Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:16 AM

Dress in Sarajevo is similar to that in Washington, D.C. Cold weather clothing is an absolute necessity. Also, the spring season can be raw and rainy. Rain apparel, warm winter boots, and sturdy walking shoes are essential. The latter are important for Sarajevo’s rough and often uneven streets. Thin-soled shoes are not recommended, as streets are often in poor condition. Winter weather in Sarajevo is cold and alternately rainy and snowy. Summer can be quite hot. Fall begins early; October can be quite cool. A well-insulated, waterproof jacket and waterproof boots are mandatory for winter. Pantsuits for women are useful in winter months. Lightweight, wash-and-wear garments are preferable for summer. Men should bring an adequate number of suits for meetings as well as representational events; women should bring “cocktail-style” dresses or suits for the same occasions. Suits are worn regularly in the Embassy. Although good quality clothing and footwear is available in Sarajevo, prices are generally higher than those in the U.S.

Supplies and Services Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:17 AM

Most European brands of toiletries and household supplies are available, although American brands are not readily found in Sarajevo’s stores. For this reason, favorite brands of shampoo, toothpaste, vitamins and drugstore items should be included in household effects shipments. There are a number of optical shops that offer eye exams and fashionable glasses at fair prices. Fabrics are available but expensive. Craft supplies (knitting wool, patterns and needles, crochet materials, needlepoint yarns, paints, brushes, easels, sewing fabrics, threads, etc.) are sometimes available but often difficult to find. You should bring whatever items or supplies are needed for outside activities and hobbies.

Basic Services Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:17 AM

There are many acceptable and reasonable beauty shops that give both men’s and women’s haircuts as well as other services such as skin care, body care and nail care at reasonable prices. Some hair products are available locally, but employees are advised to bring a supply of their favorite brands. Photo developing facilities and print shops are available. Dry cleaning and tailoring shops are conveniently located. Car repair shops and car washes are abundant and inexpensive.

Computer equipment can be damaged due to power outages, so if you bring your own PC, include voltage or power surge regulators. Most computer shops have a stock of diskettes and ribbons, and computer repair facilities are available.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:18 AM

Mission members find it easy to hire part-time domestic help to assist with housekeeping, cooking and gardening, although it is difficult to find domestic employees who are able to speak English well. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) has a file of references on domestic help. In order to protect potential employers and their neighbors, the Security Office will assist in obtaining routine police checks of all prospective domestic staff members.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:18 AM

Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religions are represented in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Christian churches include Catholic, Orthodox, and Seventh-day Adventists. At SFOR bases, Protestant, Catholic, and Mormon religious services are offered in English.

Education Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:19 AM

QSI International School of Sarajevo, a private non-profit institution, was opened in September 1997. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Classes are conducted in English. QSI has 76 students from pre-school to the eighth grade. The school’s primary purpose is to meet the educational needs of children in Sarajevo with a view toward continuing their education in their home countries with minimal adjustment. In addition to its scholastic goals, the school provides its students with a historical perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. The curriculum includes English (reading, grammar, composition and spelling), mathematics, cultural studies (history, geography, economics, etc.), science, computer literacy, art, music and physical education as a part of the regular program. The school is located at Donji Hotonj St. 8, Vogosca, telephone (387–33) 434–757.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:19 AM

Sarajevo has a variety of recreational facilities. Popular sports include: skiing, ice hockey, ice skating, handball, basketball, tennis, and soccer. A couple of indoor pools have recently opened with monthly/yearly memberships at fair prices. Sarajevo also has a four-hole golf course, which is expanding. The city has many fitness centers that offer tae-bo, aerobics, yoga and kick-boxing. There are several private tennis clubs that offer sheltered courts during winter months. Fishing is also popular since Bosnia has many beautiful rivers; fishing licenses are required.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:20 AM

Several companies offer organized tours of Sarajevo. Guiding companies organize hiking and rafting trips that afford outdoor adventurers opportunities to see Bosnia’s beautiful rivers and creeks.

Just minutes from Sarajevo, one can stroll down a tree-lined path and picnic in the park at the source of the Bosna River, where the current rushes out of solid rock at the foot of a mountain. Horse-drawn carriages can be hired for $5 to $10.

In winter, skiing is Bosnia’s favorite sport. Although, the tourist facilities built during the 1984 Winter Olympics are in disarray, there is a brand new hotel located on Bjelasnica Mountain, just a 45-minute drive from the city. An hour from Sarajevo is a more developed ski area called Jahorina Mountain, which has several new small hotels as well as some cozy restaurants. Skiing equipment rental is possible; however, the equipment is not up to U.S. standards.

During the summer months most people visit the Croatian coast,4-hour drive from Sarajevo. On the way to the coast, travelers can visit Mostar’s old town, which was built when the Ottoman Empire extended into the region.

The town of Blagaj is the site of an old Dervish monastery, established in 1466 at the source of the Buna River, which flows out from beneath a magnificent cliff. One of the largest springs in Europe, the Buna breaks out into the surface carrying 43,000 liters of water per second, after flowing underground for over 19 kilometers.

Located in Bosnia’s wine-producing mountains, a three-hour drive from Sarajevo, the small village of Medjugorje became a destination for pilgrims in 1981 when six children testified that the Virgin Mary had revealed herself to them. Since then, Medjugorje has been visited by millions of people from all over the world.

Entertainment Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:21 AM

There are many good restaurants as well as numerous pizzerias and cafés in Sarajevo. Strolling and stopping into a café for coffee is a favorite Bosnian pastime and part of the culture. Concerts and plays take place in Sarajevo’s theaters, particularly during the summer months. Exhibitions are regularly held in state and city galleries. Although the films that are shown in the city’s several theaters are usually over six months old, they are shown in their original languages with subtitles in Bosnian. The city has several bookstores that sell some English-language literature, but most of post’s avid readers order their books on-line. Sarajevo has a number of cafés and clubs that offer different types of music and entertainment, including live jazz.

Social Activities Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:21 AM

The Community Liaison Officer publishes a weekly newsletter informing Embassy members of the many activities taking place in town. The CLO organizes social and recreational events (such as movie nights, cookouts, and happy hours) as well as occasional trips to local sites of interest. There is an International Women’s Club in Sarajevo, which organizes bridge lessons, art classes, walking groups and an annual international bazaar. A small exercise facility is also available to all Mission members as are aerobics and yoga classes in our multi-purpose room. For the most part, official entertaining takes the form of dinners, cocktail parties, and luncheons. Sarajevo’s chapter of the Hash House Harriers draws runners and walkers to its weekly outings from all segments of the city’s international community.

Official Functions Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:22 AM

Officers may be asked to attend official functions (e.g. National Day events at other Missions, Bosnian and diplomatic receptions, luncheons, and dinners). Dress is similar to that in the Washington, D.C. area. (dark suits for men and dresses or suits for women). Most Mission personnel assist in hosting the official Fourth of July reception. Business cards are used and can be printed locally in English and Bosnian. The usual rules of social conduct and etiquette in the United States are also customary in Bosnia.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 8/6/2003 10:24 AM

The Post should be informed of the employee’s approximate date of arrival four to six weeks in advance. The best way to travel to Sarajevo is by air. The major air carriers servicing Sarajevo are Austrian Air, Swiss Air, Croatian Air, and Lufthansa.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:23 AM

Personnel may import the following duty free: household effects (HHE), POV (local law prohibits the import of vehicles older than seven years), food stuffs, beverages, tobacco products, and other items for personal use during their tour of duty. All personal shipments for diplomatic personnel must be cleared through customs. Customs inspectors will normally clear shipments upon arrival, after which the GSO section submits a declaration to Bosnian Customs. If the shipments are sent to Zagreb by aircraft, they can be tracked more effectively if you know the airway bill number. The State Department Transportation Office can provide this information a few days after your airfreight is packed out.

The Embassy has limited storage facilities, so shipments should not arrive prior to your arrival at post. An employee’s HHE are held in ELSO Antwerp until the employee has arrived and is occupying permanent quarters. Since you may have to stay in temporary quarters after your arrival, pack airfreight accordingly.

The Embassy can obtain advance customs clearance for your HHE, UAB, and POV Please be sure to send the customs and shipping section a copy of the packer’s inventory list as soon as you arrive at post.

GSO will help with the necessary export approvals for all items, but the process must be started several months before you intend to leave. Routine personal belongings and HHE for all personnel can be exported duty free.

Passage Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:23 AM

Entering Bosnia and Herzegovina involves a minimum of formalities for the holders of diplomatic passports. All incoming employees will be met by them sponsor at the Sarajevo Airport. No visas are necessary.

Pets Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:23 AM

There are no prohibitions on bringing pets to post and into Bosnia Personnel bringing pets to Post should make arrangements prior to arrival, since few hotels will accept pets. In theory, it is necessary to obtain Bosnian government approval to import pets, but in practice this has never been necessary. However, customary vaccinations and health certificates are required.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:24 AM

Firearms and ammunition are not permitted at post.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:25 AM

Sarajevo is basically a cash economy, although credit cards are accepted at some stores and restaurants. There are also a few Automatic Teller Machines in the city. The currency is the Convertible Mark (KM), which is tied to the value of the Euro. Visitors may wish to change a substantial portion of their advance into Euros before coming to post.

All permanently assigned American employees of the USG (direct-hire and PSC) may obtain accommodation exchanges from the Embassy Cashier during posted cashier hours. Visitors with official travel orders may exchange U.S. dollars in cash or Travelers checks.

The metric system of weights and measurements is used here. Fabric is bought by the meter, potatoes by the kilo, gasoline by the liter, and distances are measured in kilometers.

Diplomatic personnel are exempt from taxes. Because shops include taxes in their prices, post has procedures to assist you in obtaining tax exemption on items costing over 200KM purchased for personal use. Diplomats’ personal goods and consumables may enter Bosnia and Herzegovina exempt from duties and taxes.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:26 AM

Diplomatic personnel are exempt from taxes. Because shops include taxes in their prices, post has procedures to assist you in obtaining tax exemption on items costing over 20OKM purchased for personal use and will be explained to you upon arrival. All personal goods and consumables may enter Bosnia and Herzegovina exempt from duties and taxes.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 12/2/2003 9:26 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Silber, Laura, and Little Allan. The Death of Yugoslavia.

Malcolm, Noel. The Short History of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bennet, Chris. Yugoslavia’s Bloody Collapse: Causes, Course and Consequence.

Donia, Robert J. and Fine John V A. Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Tradition Betrayed.

Pinson, Mark (ed.). The Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Their Historical Development from the Middle Ages to the Dissolution of Yugoslavia.

Andric, Ivo. The Bridge on the Drino.

Andric, Ivo. The Days of the Consuls.

Glenny, Misha. The Fall of Yugoslavia.

Sudetic, Chuck. Blood and Vengeance.

Cohen, Roger. Hearts Grown Brutal.

West, Rebecca. Black Lamb, Gray Falcon.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 5/31/2003 6:00 PM

NewYear’s Day January 2 Bajram – Kurban February 11 Independence Day March 1 Easter April 21 Labor Day May 1 and 2 Assumption Day August 15 All Saint’s Day November 1 Statehood Day November 25 Bajram – Ramadan November 25

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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